MARA AND THE BUSHKAS: Live At Bats
By Tim Gruar
Mara Simpson may be of British/Kenyan descent but her musical project belongs to Wellington as much as (or more so) any other continents she’s visited lately. This world citizen may have chosen to set up home base in the capital on a whim, but her recent show at Bats Theatre had all the same hallmarks, and even the same origin, as Barnaby Weir’s folksy/roots based collaborations Fly My Pretties. I really like the intimate sounds of this new venture hatching, and the venue exudes its own sweet undergound coolness and quiet assurance. Simpson’s music has the familiar layers of folk and country, all peppered with an upbeat funky-ness. There are a number of Welli’s usual suspects present, including the throaty alto sax of Daniel Yeabsley (Twinset, WIUO) and the gospel Hammond and ‘70s Rhodes of Eru Dangerspeil’s Ed Zuccollo. All the tracks here are special, but especially Peaceful Woman – a jazzy, affirmative swelling of positivity.